Andrew Stewart is a recent public relations graduate from the University of Sunderland with experience of both in house and agency PR. He has worked with clients in the Sports, Technology and Education sectors using both traditional PR methods and social media.
Is the press release dead?
As the online media industry continues to thrive in times bound by technology, a firm grasp on the fundamentals of media relations is as vital as ever when it comes to communicating effectively with the public.
However, when navigating the ever-changing landscape of media relations, this paradigm shift towards online shouldn’t prompt you to lose focus on the fundamentals of good communication. For organisations big and small, deciphering which approach to take when broadcasting the good work of your company is not as simple as throwing some great selling points into a press release and sending it to a journalist. Alternatively, cramming a press release into a tweet and spamming your social media following is equally counter productive.
In 2016, it can still be said that a well written, effectively distributed press release can be the perfect tool to get your message to the masses. Most, if not all of the major print publications are now well established online media outlets, in which journalists still serve a vital purpose as distributor of news.
The name says it all, the relationship between a public relations practitioner and a journalist can not only determine whether or not your story gets the press it deserves, but also the manner in which you are portrayed in the media. Understanding the dynamic of the journalism industry allows for a cohesive, mutually beneficial relationship between Journalist and PR.
As a public relations practitioner, the inherent need to build and maintain these positive working relationships help to validate the continued need for the profession. This is due, in no small part, to the fast paced nature of both the journalism and PR industries. This in turn allows public relations practitioners the opportunity to build a positive reputation among journalists as reliable sources of professional, honest content.
Even the most compelling story can descend towards the waste paper bin if it doesn’t fall onto the right desk or inbox. Formulating a relevant distribution list allows you to target the precise audience you need to raise the profile of your business while not burning bridges by wasting journalists time with irrelevant press releases. In addition to this, a realistic expectation of your story can help deliver it to the right people, as despite your best intentions, not everyone may think it’s national news.
Once you have successfully written and distributed your press release, the next step is to track the reach of your release in order to gauge both its success and potential influence. As a public relations practitioner, the use of content analysis software, such as Precise, can offer an all-encompassing view into the reach of your press release. As well as giving you a clear indication of whether or not your release has been successful, keeping up to date with your media output can also help ensure that nothing is missed from the story.